After three movies and a TV series, Sony Pictures is checking out of Hotel Transylvania. The upcoming fourth movie, due this July after several delays, will be the last one in the series: Hotel Transylvania: Transformania.
It’s the hotel’s 125th anniversary and Johnny, Dracula’s son-in-law, is still feeling insecure about being the only non-monster tenant there. That’s when Van Helsing shows up and reveals he just so happens to have a transformation ray that can turn people into monsters. What he doesn’t tell Johnny is that the technology is still highly experimental — and unpredictable.
The ray boings throughout the hotel’s halls, turning monsters into people, turning people into monsters, and causing total chaos. It’s Transformania! The important thing is that this premise allows them to create a ton of rubbery sight gags, as is tradition. They’ve ratcheted up the cartoon physics to levels unseen even for this franchise — just look at the size of those eyeballs up there.
The original Hotel Transylvania. mainly about Dracula managing the titular hotel while dealing with father-daughter issues, was released in 2012 and reviewed okay. Its sequels had diminishing returns critically but quite the opposite financially. Hotel Transylvania 3, which didn’t even take place in the hotel, wound up being the highest-grossing animated movie in Sony Animation’s history, earning $528 million worldwide from a budget of $80 million.
If anything, the movies are kept watchable through the influence of director Genndy Tartakovsky, whose sense of cartoon timing is still one of the best in the industry. This time, however, Genndy is stepping aside as director and Jennifer Kluska and Derek Drymon are serving in his place. That doesn’t mean he’ll have no influence on the picture though — he wrote the script for this one and he’s still an executive producer.
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania was originally planned for a December 22, 2021 release. Then it was moved to August 6 before finally settling at July 23. WB’s Space Jam: A New Legacy comes out a week before then — it’s gonna be a weird summer at the Bijou.